PBA Spare Shots: Every Tournament Means a New PBA Record for Walter Ray Williams Jr.

by Bill Vint  |  Friday, April 26, 9:42 AM

PBA Spare Shots: Every Tournament Means a New PBA Record for Walter Ray Williams Jr.

It’s not a secret, but every time Walter Ray Williams Jr. picks up a bowling ball and steps onto the approach at a PBA tournament – no matter what level of tournament it may be – he sets another record.

The “GOAT” – Greatest Of All Time – as many of his peers refer to him is approaching his 60th birthday (on October 6). He has been a PBA member since 1980 (39 years). His most recent record of note was winning the 110th PBA title of his lengthy and colorful career. His victory in the PBA50 Tour’s season-opening Johnny Petraglia BVL Open last week was his 12th in PBA50 Tour competition to go along with his record 47 PBA Tour titles, 33 standard PBA Regional wins and 18 PBA50 Regional titles.

His portfolio of PBA records would take pages to summarize, but here are some astonishing statistics that put Williams’ career in PBA competition into perspective compared to an “average” league bowler:

As of last Sunday, Williams had bowled 24,135 games in PBA Tour competition, 2,328 in PBA Regionals, 2,625 in PBA50 Tour events and another 694 in PBA50 Regionals for a combined total of 29,782 games in PBA tournaments at all levels.

That total doesn’t include games bowled in practice, pro-ams or exhibitions.

If an average league bowler rolls three games a week over a typical 32-week league season, he or she will bowl 96 games in a year.

At the average league bowler rate, it would take that bowler 310.2 years to bowl as many games as Williams has bowled in PBA competition.

If you were able to live 310.2 years and match Williams’ games bowled total, take note that he also has knocked down 6,558,110 pins over that span. That converts to a 220.20 average for all PBA games bowled.

Keep in mind, Walter Ray is still actively competing at all levels of PBA competition.


The TV show "FOCUSED" hosted by Fran Healy, features documentaries on athletes and sports institutions, and a new “Professional Bowlers Association” episode currently airing on FOX Sports regional networks plus the Madison Square Garden Network examines the evolution of professional bowling from its origin to today. For listings for the day and time for “FOCUSED” in your area, click here: https://www.pba.com/content/files/downloads/FocusedReairSchedule.pdf


Manchester, Iowa’s AJ Chapman won six matches in the eight-game modified round robin finals to pull away from the field and win his first PBA title in the Houston Copperfield Bowl Southwest Challenge, presented by 900 Global, on Easter Sunday.

Chapman, who qualified second for the finals, was trailing non-member Josh Sorola of Baytown, Texas, who was bowling in his second PBA event ever, by 46 pins going into the deciding final game position round. Chapman took an early lead as Sorola had two early opens and never recovered, as Chapman won 195-147. Along with his title, Chapman earned $2,000.

PBA Regional Challenge tournaments are open to players who have not previously won a PBA title.

Grants Pass, Ore., proprietor and veteran PBA50 competitor Kevin Croucher knew he had to give it his best effort in the championship match against red hot PBA Hall of Famer Walter Ray Williams Jr., the winningest bowling in PBA history, and he did just that by defeating Williams, 268-197, to win the fourth annual PBA50 Sarasota Ford South Open at Sarasota Lanes in Sarasota, Fla., on Saturday.

Croucher, who picked up his ninth overall PBA Regional title, won easily after starting with a spare and then stringing seven strikes. The Oxford, Fla., superstar gave Croucher a head start when he had an open in the first frame and was never able to catch up. Croucher earned the $2,000 first prize while Williams earned $1,000 as the runner-up.

In the semifinal round, Croucher eliminated Ryan Shafer of Horseheads, N.Y., 196-170, while Williams took out Brian Kretzer of Dayton, Ohio, 205-183.

Closing the April PBA Regional calendar over the April 26-28 weekend will be the Brighton Construction Myrtle Beach South Open at Myrtle Beach Bowl in South Carolina; the Oklahoma City Southwest Open presented by Roto Grip at Planet Bowl in Oklahoma; the PBA/PBA50 Tumwater Lanes Doubles event presented by MOTIV in Tumwater, Wash., and the Greater Richmond Central Open at Richmond 40 Bowl in Richmond, Ind.

● For complete PBA Regional schedules, rules and entry information, visit pba.com, open the “schedules” tab and click on PBA Regional Tours to find the event(s) in your area…and remember, you can follow “live scoring” for all PBA Regional events on pba.com (easily accessible for Apple and Android device users using the PBA app).


USBC has announced the 2020 USBC Masters will be held March 23-29 at the Grand Sierra Resort Bowling Center in Reno, Nev. The stepladder finals will be televised live on FS1 as part of the PBA’s television package with FOX Sports.

Sneaking in under the radar, Part I: PBA Hall of Famer Pete Weber late in the 2018 season became the second player in PBA history to surpass $4 million in combined PBA career earnings. Walter Ray Williams Jr. remains the all-time PBA earnings leader. He currently stands at $4,794,859.

Sneaking in under the radar, Part II: Bill O’Neill is the 44th member of the PBA Millionaires Club. He surpassed the career milestone with his fourth-place finish in the PBA World Championship, which was his 226th career PBA Tour tournament. That put him in a tie for third place for earning $1 million in the fewest number of tournaments with Tommy Jones. O’Neill’s long-time doubles partner, Jason Belmonte, set the standard by reaching the million-dollar milestone in 131 tournaments. The runner-up is Chris Barnes who hit the milestone in 220 events.

PBA Hall of Famers Chris Barnes, Mika Koivuniemi, Jim St. John, meritorious service honorees Bob Johnson and Larry Lichstein, and the only woman ever to win a PBA major title – Kelly Kulick – will be inducted into the United States Bowling Congress Hall of Fame along with the late Kegel founder John Davis during the USBC Annual Meeting on Wednesday, May 1, at The Orleans in Las Vegas.